The Miami Hurricanes took care of business on the main stage Saturday afternoon at The BUC; dismantling Sunshine State rival and conference foe Florida State, 72-59.
Sheldon McClellan bored 20 of his 21 points in a second-half surge, while Ja’Quan Newton added 13 for the No. 12 Hurricanes—who advanced to 13-1 on the season and 2-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
Davon Reed tacked on 12 points—in a game Miami never trailed—including a 3-for-3 performance from beyond the arc, sparking a 32-24 halftime lead for the Canes.
Reed had been riding an 0-for-8 run the past three games, but came alive from three-point range with the Seminoles in the house, while center Tonye Jekiri added eight points and 10 rebounds.
Despite the supporting cast, the story was McClellan—0-for-4 regarding first half field goal attempts, before exploding in the second half, going 7-for-7 with two three pointers.
Equally as impressive as Miami’s defense, keeping some solid Florida State in check all after noon. Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley—two of the top freshman in the ACC—were averaging over 17 points-per-game, but only scored 10 and 13, respectively.
Bigger than the win itself for Miami; the general shift for state supremacy and the electricity in the air as the Hurricanes become a true force under head coach Jim Larrañaga.
Showdowns with Florida State left a sour taste in Miami’s mouth in years passed as former Canes coachLeonard Hamilton roamed the baseline. Hamilton put Miami on the map, left for a quick stint in the NBA and returned to the college game soon thereafter—taking over in Tallahassee, while the Hurricanes struggled underPerry Clark and eventually Frank Haith.
Larrañaga landed in Miami’s lap five seasons ago in serendipitous fashion and the Canes have been building a powerhouse ever since—surpassing the Noles, as well as the hated Gators.
Miami hosted Florida in early December, dominated defensively—holding the Gators to 39-percent shooting (including 1-for-12 from three-point range)—and rolled to a 66-55 victory.
Miami also topped Florida last season in a thriller—down 33-21 at the half, but putting together a 48-point second half behind guard Angel Rodriguez—who hit the game-winning, hand-in-the-face three-pointer with :16 remaining in a 69-67 upset in Gainesville.
The Hurricanes advanced to the quarterfinals of last year’s ACC Tournament, falling to Notre Dame—but earned an invite to the NIT, where Miami knocked off North Carolina Central, Alabama, Richmond and Temple, before losing to Stanford in the finale in overtime.
Spirited comebacks, second half adjustments and next-level effort were the name of the game—further underscoring The Larrañaga Effect and the legendary coach’s impact on this program.
Outside of a one-point loss to Northeastern on Thanksgiving weekend—the proverbial let-down game after topping Mississippi State, Utah and Butler to win the Puerto Rico Tip-Off—Miami has been flawless this season; including a solid conference start with wins over Syracuse last week and Florida State this weekend.
Next up; a monster challenge on Tuesday night as Miami heads to Charlottesville to take on conference power Virginia. The Cavaliers are riding a two-game losing streak, having lost road games to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech this past week, but will be looking to get back on track in the confines of John Paul Jones Arena.
A conference title—and then some—top the Canes’ list of goals the season; and it all starts with staying on track and winning some tough road games against traditional conference powers. Miami’s showdown at Virginia tips off at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN U.
Until then, it’s worth taking a little time to revel in a win over Florida State and to appreciate the fact that the balance of power has shifted in the Sunshine State.
Hard as it may be for some to fathom; Larrañaga has turned Miami into a basketball power.